The Norman Transcript

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November 5, 2012

Review of state questions

(Continued)

NORMAN —

In Cleveland County, about 70 percent of property tax supports schools and is determined by the state legislature, according to Cleveland County Assessor David Tinsley.

SQ 766:

This measure amends Section 6A of Article 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution. At present, that section exempts some intangible personal property from ad valorem property taxation. This measure would exempt all intangible personal property from ad valorem property taxation.

An ad valorem property tax is a tax imposed upon the value of property.

The value of intangible personal property is not derived from its physical attributes but rather from what it represents or evidences.

Intangible personal property, which is still currently taxed but would not be if the measure is adopted, includes items such as:

· Patents, inventions, formulas, designs and trade secrets;

· Licenses, franchise and contracts;

· Land leases, mineral interests and insurance policies;

· Custom computer software; and

· Trademarks, trade names and brand names.

If adopted, the measure would apply to property taxation, starting with the tax year that begins on Jan. 1.

SQ 766, if approved, exempts all intangible personal property from ad valorem taxation.

Chamber of Commerce President John Woods said intangible property subject to taxation could include software, client lists, logos, professional licenses and marketing materials. That makes assessment very subjective.

“How do you quantify the value of an item of this nature?” Woods said. “That can vary widely from county to county.”

Cleveland County Assessor David Tinsley said county assessors have a different take on the issue.

“If we have intangibles, that’s because they (the businesses) give it to us,” Tinsley said. “We don’t value intangibles unless the business turns it in. Oklahoma is a self-reporting state. We ask for furniture, fixtures, equipment and inventory.”

Not all intangibles are taxed. Currently, the Oklahoma Constitution exempts certain intangible properties from ad valorem — such as cash and cash on hand, money on deposit, accounts and bills receivable, bonds, promissory notes, stock, property held in trust, annuities and annuity contracts.

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